Hunter railway line
|Fleet||Hunter Railcars Endeavour Railcar|
|December 2014||Line truncated to Wickham to allow construction of the Newcastle Light Rail.|
The Hunter railway line is an intercity railway line of the NSW TrainLink network. The line runs from the central business district of Newcastle, on the coast, northwest to Scone and Dungog in the Hunter Region.
History and features
The Hunter line consists of the Newcastle branch line between Newcastle and Islington Junction, the Main North line between Islington Junction and Maitland, the North Coast Line between Maitland and Dungog and the Main North line between Maitland and Scone. The Main North line, formerly known as the Great Northern Railway (G.N.R.), was the original mainline between Sydney and Brisbane. This line, which ran via Armidale and required a change of train due to the break of gauge at Wallangarra, was opened to East Maitland in 1857 and Maitland in 1858. It reached Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook in 1869, and Scone in 1871.
The G.N.R. was then extended beyond Scone to West Tamworth in 1878, Armidale in 1883, and reached the Queensland border at Wallangarra in 1888. The new main line to Brisbane, via the North Coast was opened in stages between 1905 and 1930, but a ferry carried trains across the Clarence River at Grafton until the bridge was completed in 1932. The Newcastle rail network remained independent of the main network radiating from Sydney until 1889, when the line between Sydney and Newcastle was completed with the opening of the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge. Thus Newcastle was connected by rail with Wallangarra before it was connected with Sydney, such was the difficulty and expense of reaching and bridging the Hawkesbury River.
Between Islington Junction and Maitland, there is a four track section where the line runs parallel to the Newcastle coal lines, which serve a number of colleries along the route. The line is double track between Newcastle and St Heliers on the main line, and between Maitland and Telarah on the North Coast line, and single track between Telarah and Dungog, and between St Heliers and Scone (and beyond), with duplication of the 4 km from St Heliers to Muswellbrook due for completion in late 2009. The line is not electrified except between Hamilton and Newcastle for the benefit of Sydney trains, and the line is serviced by new Hunter railcars and older Endeavour railcar sets, both running in a 2-car configuration. Until 2007, 620 & 720 class diesel railcars (DMUs) built in the 1960s previously serviced the line.
|Name of Station||Code||Serving Suburbs||Pattern stops at this station||Connections|
|Newcastle||NTL||Newcastle, Newcastle East, The Hill||■ Newcastle & Central Coast Line|
|Civic||CVI||Newcastle, Honeysuckle, Cooks Hill||■ Newcastle & Central Coast Line|
|Wickham||WKH||Wickham, Newcastle West||■ Newcastle & Central Coast Line|
|Hamilton||HMN||Hamilton, Islington, Tighes Hill||■ Newcastle & Central Coast Line|
|Waratah||WTH||Waratah, Georgetown, Mayfield, Mayfield East|
|Victoria Street||VST||East Maitland|
|East Maitland||EAM||East Maitland, Pitnacree, Tenambit|
|High Street||HGH||South Maitland, Maitland|
|Martins Creek||MCR||Martins Creek|
|Greta||GTA||Greta, North Rothbury|
|Branxton||BNX||Branxton, East Branxton|
All stations on this line are within the MyMulti 3 zone. Stations between Newcastle and Telarah are also within the Green Newcastle TravelPass zone, which remains available despite the replacement of the Sydney TravelPass system with the MyMulti ticket.
- Pattern 1: Newcastle, all to Telarah and vice-versa (peak and off-peak).
- Pattern 2: Newcastle, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland and Telarah and vice-versa (peak and off-peak – weekdays only).
- Pattern 3: Newcastle all to Maitland and vice-versa (one afternoon off-peak service on weekdays, two services on weekends).
- Pattern 4: Newcastle, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland, Telarah, Paterson and all stations to Dungog and vice-versa (peak and off-peak, 5 services a day on weekdays, 3 services a day on Saturdays, 2 services a day on Sundays).
- Pattern 5: Newcastle, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland, and all stations to Scone and vice-versa (peak and off-peak, 2 services (1 afternoon peak hour, 1 evening peak hour) on weekdays, 1 evening service on weekends).
- Pattern 6: Newcastle, all to Scone and vice-versa (1 early morning service on weekdays and weekends).
- Pattern 7: Newcastle, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland and all stations to Muswellbrook and vice-versa (one mid-morning off-peak service on weekdays only).
- The Great Northern Railway Newcastle to Maitland 150 Years On, Walters, Chris Australian Railway History, March 2007 pp83-113
- - CityRail timetable - Scone or Dungog to Newcastle
- - CityRail timetable - Newcastle to Scone or Dungog